Nital Etch – Simulacrum CDr No Part Of It 2020
Nital Etch is the solo project of American Kevin Lewis, featuring music of an experimental/contemporary classical/dark ambient bent. This release appears to be the debut album which has been compiled from a selection of highlights from earlier unreleased recordings. Other than that scant information, I know next to nothing about this project.
But what of the sonics? Evidently the music was created using only strings and pedals, it is not at all clear how this material would have been composed and recorded, given the end result feels far more varied and complex that such basic equipment implies. The overall atmosphere is one of frayed and faded sepia tone photographs of desolate wintery landscapes, skeletal leafless branches and decaying abandoned buildings. On the opening track Outro is an excellent statement of intent, featuring mournful cinematically edge, with sub-dour orchestral tones and floating violins. Incisions follows, with a similar filmic tone of minimal melody and moody bass drone, but mid track shifts off into sparse field recording elements and piano being played somewhere in the depths of an abandoned mansion. You Poor Thing commences as an abstracted soundscape, yet from mid track onwards features achingly sad violin melody and string backing. The track Barabara changes things up, where the experimental industrial sound comes to the fore through a a forceful mid-toned industrial drone which builds to avalanche intensity against which an old documentary sample is set. Loss is perhaps the most contemporary classic type piece on offer, building around string backing and serpentine violin melody, while Obsolescence plays out as another cinematic piece of tensile edged and slowing elevating orchestral strings. With regard to the back half of the album, it features around 25 minutes of material, being denoted as excepts of 1 through 4 of a longer piece titled Glass Tube Roses. In overall tone these tracks are slightly less refined looser in execution. Generally being more subsumed with a foggy production, thus perhaps having a stronger dark ambient tone than the experimental contemporary classical soundscapes of the album’s front half, yet they still maintain the same dour, sepia toned cinematic flavour.
As an introduction to the music of Nital Etch Simulacrum is a wonderfully dark and emotive album which through its sparse musical motifs and cinematic washes of sound, articulates shifting moods of misery, loss, abandonment and decay. Recommended.
Note: – although a CDr release, this is a pro-printed disc and cover.